Art Bar reading – online!

Hi everyone,

A quick update, so that I can share some work I’m proud of! A few weeks ago, the Art Bar asked me to contribute a video-recorded reading to their ongoing online reading series, and I was happy to take part. Besides the fact that I’ve been an Art Bar regular for embarrassingly long periods of my life, I also couldn’t pass up the opportunity to collect some of my recent poetic work into a sort of time capsule of these pandemic months of 2020.

It’s been lots of fun embracing the strangely visual nature of digital poetry readings… which is why I contributed not one, but two videos, each with an attempt at their own aesthetic. In the second, I even had the chance to record a poem (ironically called “At the Poetry Reading”) that I’d probably never read in its entirety at a live event.

As of now, you can still see the videos as part of the Art Bar’s September 15 reading on Facebook. But I also wanted to host them on my YouTube channel, just for posterity and convenience. If you have some time and a penchant for listening to talking heads talking poetry, I hope you’ll check mine out!

 

 

 

Happy listening!

 

 

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the plumb: a new DIY project space in Toronto

Hi everyone,

Chances are you’ve heard about it already, but I wanted to take the opportunity to to reflect on a new and exciting chapter of my life: the plumb. Thanks to the leadership and leg work of Daniel Griffin Hunt and Emma Welch, my partner Amanda Boulos and I have joined with a collective of about a dozen other artists, writers, and curators to open up an art gallery and project space at St. Clair and Dufferin. Our grand opening group show (which we’ve titled Pits, Seeds) has been up for about a week, and its final opening hours will be held this Saturday and Sunday from 1pm to 6pm.

I’ll leave most of the gallery’s self-representation to our mandate. From my own perspective, though, I’m extremely excited for the space to host not only fine art shows, but also literary readings, discussion groups, workshops, and anything else that might be relevant to the literary and other arts scenes in Toronto. As everyone knows, COVID-19 is putting a lot of these plans on hiatus, as well as creating added difficulties for those events we do manage to pull off. Nevertheless, I’m optimistic. At the risk of sounding arrogant, I think we can outlast the pandemic and find something on the other side.

Even though we’re just getting started, I’ve also already learned a ton from working with the many talented artists and curators who make up our collective. I’ve always loved visual art, and following Amanda through her MFA gave me some of the initial connections I needed to start reviewing shows and getting to know the visual art community. But the plumb is expanding my horizons in ways I never imagined. I couldn’t be more thankful to be welcomed in, and to contribute my meagre talents to this incredible endeavour.

Finally, one of the most delightful surprises of my work with the plumb so far has been the opportunity to present a piece of artwork at our opening show–just like a real artist! With help from Hiba Abdallah and her vinyl cutter, I’ve contributed a wall vinyl with a variation of the font I created for The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psycho-analysis: A Selection. (If you’re curious about the source of the text, it’s the chorus of Grizzly Bear’s “Two Weeks.”)

 

Installation photo of Two Weeks, by John Nyman. The image shows a white gallery wall with text that reads "would you always / maybe sometimes / make it easy / take your time" in a difficult-to-read font.

 

Installation photo of Two Weeks, by John Nyman, and other works in Pits, Seeds.

 

As I said before, the show will come down after this weekend–although there will still be extensive photo documentation on the plumb’s website at https://theplumb.ca/Pits-Seeds. It looks like I’ll be sitting the gallery during some of this weekend’s opening hours, so let me know if you’re planning to stop by! Otherwise, happy reading, and I hope to bring you more updates from the plumb soon.

 

 

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A reading tomorrow

Hi everyone,

I hope everyone is well–and perhaps even finding some new and creative ways of being in our collective isolation (is that too much to hope for?). While the past month has been pretty sleepy for me, I’m very happy to be reading poetry at a virtual gathering organized by the very generous and industrious Ksenija Spasic tomorrow evening. The event is titled “Light Source,” and it will be happening tomorrow (Saturday, May 9) from 7-9pm EST. Details and a link to the Zoom room can be found on the event’s Facebook page.

One of the advantages of the online event format is that it offers the chance to bring geographically distant poets into the same intimate space. In that respect, I’m excited to hear work by UK poet Delilah Tahiri and US poet Yalie Kamara. In addition, I’m also looking forward to hearing work by Ksenija as well as Ryan Fitzpatrick–whose wryly half-ironic, often surprisingly surprising poetry I don’t think I can ever get enough of. I’m the last featured reader of the night, although there will also be some additional readings, questions, conversation, etc.

If you can stop by for a peaceful night in front of a computer screen, I’d love to see you!

 

Digital poster for Light Source: Poetry in a Pixelated Time, depicting a blurred page of poetry.

 

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Notes on the knife | fork | book spring 2020 online release party

Howdy folks,

It’s amazing how time flies! It’s already been almost a week since The Devil‘s official release date last Friday, March 27th–and, more importantly, the online release party KFB’s spring season authors and I held to celebrate our respective publications. Of course, the book is up for sale on the KFB online store (I’ve heard it’s selling well!), and it ships free to anywhere in Canada. If you’d like a copy of your own, I hope you’ll stop by the online shop and place an order!

Really, though, I wanted to write a post to reflect on the event, because I think we accomplished something special. If you didn’t get a chance to stop by last Friday night, we hosted video-recorded readings by me, Andy Verboom, and Mike Cavuto (reading both his own work and some of Hamish Ballantyne’s)–plus a trippily ORANGE intro by Kirby and an under-the-blanket love note from Fan Wu–on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, then promptly took them offline by Saturday morning. My hope was to replicate some of the excitement and ephemerality of a live event, but with the quality and creativity of pre-recorded content. And, of course, I wanted to do something unique and memorable with the digital social spaces we’ve suddenly found ourselves even more deeply engaged in. I hadn’t heard of any online event quite like this before, and I wonder, now that it’s done, whether anything similar might be bubbling up on the horizon…

Overall, I’d say the night was a success! It’s worth noting that the technical side of things was pretty messy, and I know that at least a few of us were pretty frustrated at points trying to corral Gmail, Google Photos, WeTransfer, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even a few pinch-hitting video editing softwares into getting the videos to play at the right time (they played, but nowhere near as soon as we had hoped). If this is ever attempted again, there are certainly some lessons to be learned about which online platforms to bring into the mix. Luckily, though, very little of our struggles seemed to show up on the front end, which was filled with lively, insightful, and sometimes hilarious conversation (most of which is still up on the Facebook discussion page, in addition to some banter on Twitter), along with incredibly heart-warming shows of support. There were even a few audience requests for Instagram-bound spontaneous photography, which were happily granted. Overall, it was a lot of fun, and I got to show off a little bit. It’s hard to ask for more.

At the same time, I also realize that my work with The Devil is not over. Mentions will keep appearing sporadically, I’m sure, across the internet, and once we can all gather again I am still excited to perform some pieces from the chapbook in person. Besides that, I have a sense that video files can never truly self-destruct the way a live event can, and I can imagine our recordings worming their ways onto poetry-lovers’ screens in some fashion in the near to medium future. When you try something new, all of that just comes with the territory. And one of the things I’ve loved most about this is its unpredictability, and the energy that unpredictability brings.

Kirby was sweet enough to put together a photo album of some of his favourite moments from the release party. So, I’ve gone ahead and stolen a few pics from there (and the event’s Instagram page) to include in my own post! Not for perfection’s sake, but just to mark the occasion. Whatever I end up planning next with any of these folks, I’m looking forward to it!

 

John Nyman holding a copy of The Devil, from his reading for KFB's spring 2020 online release party

 

Andy Verboom taking a drink, from his reading for KFB's spring 2020 online release party

 

Michael Cavuto at his desk, from his reading for KFB's spring 2020 online release party

 

An ORANGE orb, from Kirby's intro to KFB's spring 2020 online release party

 

Fan Wu under a blanket, from Fan Wu's outro to KFB's spring 2020 online release party

 

John's hair and Persephone the cactus

 

As always, happy reading. And take care!

 

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The Devil: live readings are cancelled… but the chapbook still launches March 27th!

 

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UPDATE: The KFB spring 2020 Online Release Party is live! Check us out at 7pm EST on March 27th via Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for readings and discussion.

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Hello all,

I hope you are well (both physically and mentally) during the difficult times we find ourselves living in! It is with great disappointment that I announce the cancellation of all four live readings I had scheduled to celebrate the launch of The Devil this month. This includes the launch events that were planned in Guelph, London, and Toronto, as well as the Toronto Urban Folk Art Salon. We are hoping to reschedule the launch readings (or something comparable) in late May or early June–when Andy Verboom, who has been instrumental in helping plan these events, is hoping to make it out to Ontario from Halifax–so please stay tuned for updates around then.

In the meantime, the chapbook is still available via knife | fork | book’s online shop, and will be shipping by its official release date of March 27th. If you’d like to support me or knife | fork | book, or if you just want to read my newest work, you can pre-order The Devil and receive free shipping to anywhere in Canada. So, what are you waiting for? Do it now!

Aside from netting you a copy of the book, I would strongly encourage you to check out the online shop to support k | f | b. Anyone who’s been there knows that Kirby’s space is an incomparable resource for the poetry community in Toronto and across North America; however, the closure of its home base in Artscape Youngplace until at least April 6th means it’ll be losing out on the massive chunk of revenue it earns from in-person book sales. If there was ever a time to contribute financially to the Canadian literary community, it’s now.

While the COVID-19 pandemic will certainly be hard on us writers and readers, I still consider us fortunate in that our art form can often be enjoyed far away from in-person gatherings and events. Aside from promoting online sales, I am also keen on hosting some sort of online event to celebrate the official release of The Devil and the rest of knife | fork | book’s spring season on the 27th–so please keep that date in your calendar! Although I haven’t yet worked out the details or scope of the event, I’m hoping that I and some of the other authors will be able to post video- or audio-recorded readings to a common hub (probably a Facebook event) to be viewed on and only on the night of the launch. In addition, we would also host an online discussion and direct participants to k | f | b’s online shop. If you have any interest in taking part (and, let’s not kid ourselves, I know you’ll just be at home doing nothing anyway), stay tuned for more updates here and on my social feeds in the coming week.

Happily, then, I can still end this post by saying that I’m excited to hear from you on the 27th. For now, happy reading!

 

John Nyman's chapbook The Devil, placed on a table with a knife and a fork on either side

 

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***Cancelled*** The Devil launches March 27 (Toronto), plus readings in Guelph (March 24) and London (March 28)

 

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UPDATE: Unfortunately, due to measures to combat the spread of COVID-19, all of the readings mentioned below have been cancelled. Please see my newest blog post for more information.

* * * * *

 

Howdy all,

You know it’s been coming. You might have even heard about it. The Devil, my brand-new poetry chapbook with knife | fork | book, is launching Friday, March 27th, 7:00pm at the k | f | b shop in Artscape Youngplace (180 Shaw Street). Happily, I’m also looking forward to joining Andy Verboom (whose DBL is also launching as part of the k | f | b spring season) at additional launch readings in Guelph (Tuesday, March 24th, 7:00pm at The Penny Whistle Pub, 102-2 Quebec Street) and London (Saturday, March 28th, 7:00pm at Brown and Dickson, 567 Richmond Street). Finally, I’m also lucky enough to be among the featured poets and singer-songwriters at the Toronto Urban Folk Art Salon that same week, on Thursday, March 26th, 6:00pm at the Mount Pleasant Library (599 Mt. Pleasant Road). All four readings promise culminations of my years of speaking and writing about the Prince of Darkness–and a long-awaited chance to keep spreading the gospel in print.

I’ve put a lot into this book, and I’ve already gotten a lot out of it: the thing’s gorgeous, and more than a few readers have been stirred by its poems over the months and years. I couldn’t be more excited to spread its energy farther afield, especially with the help of the wonderful friends and fellow poets I’ll be joining across Southern Ontario in just a few short weeks. In Toronto: Michael Cavuto and Hamish Ballantyne. In Guelph: Kirby, Candace de Taeye, and Mike Chaulk. In London: Misha Bower, Jason Dickson, Gabrielle Drolet, and Angie Quick. Plus, in all three cities, the unparalleled Andy Verboom.

Of course, I’m excited to see you there, too. Come on out; it’ll be a slice. And, as always, happy reading!

 

knife | fork | book's spring 2020 publications, laid out on a table: DBL (Andy Verboom), The Devil (John Nyman), Imitation Crab (Hamish Ballantyne), Country Poems (Michael Cavuto)

 

The Devil / DBL launch event poster featuring John Nyman, Andy Verboom, Candace de Taeye, Kirby, Mike Chaulk

 

poster for Urban Folk Art Salon, Thursday, March 26th, 6:00-8:00pm, Mount Pleasant Library (599 Mount Pleasant Road)

DBL / The Devil launch event poster featuring Andy Verboom, John Nyman, Misha Bower, Jason Dickson, Gabrielle Drolet, Angie Quick

 

 

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Poems from The Devil in ​The /tƐmz/ Review 10

Hi folks,

I’m super-excited this week to share five poems from The Devil in ​The /tƐmz/ Review‘s tenth issue, which is now available for reading online. The five featured poems are some of the hottest from the chapbook (which is launching March 27th in Toronto), and I’m very happy to see them accessible online in addition to appearing in print next month. Aaron Schneider and Amy Mitchell have done a fantastic job with The /tƐmz/ Review‘s publication design and online presence, not to mention their putting together a spectacular winter issue including poetry by Khashayar Mohammadi (whose debut full-length has just been picked up by Gordon Hill Press), Jade Wallace, David Ly, and Roxanna Bennett, plus a long-form interview between two friends of mine, Kevin Heslop and Terese Pierre.

 

back cover of The Devil chapbook

 

If you’re looking to pre-order your copy of The Devil, everything you need to know is in my January 20 blog post (or you can just click the link at the beginning of this sentence!). As I announced last month, the chapbook will be launching at knife | fork | book on March 27th alongside a few other much-anticipated gems. I’ll also be accompanying Andy Verboom (who will be launching his DBL) to additional events in Guelph on March 24th and London on March 28th; stay tuned for more information about those later this month!

Until then, Happy Reading!

 

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The Devil on HOWL (10pm Tuesday on CIUT 89.5FM), and available for pre-order

Hi all,

Anyone who follows knife | fork | book on Twitter has seen the hype around this spring’s upcoming batch of chapbooks, and I’m damned happy to be nestled in beside long con editor Andy Verboom, Hamish Ballantyne, and a full-length debut (!) from Michael Cavuto. My contribution, The Devil, includes poems about the Prince of Darkness himself, li’l ol’ me, and whatever semblance of God I’ve found in the midst of it. I’ve been working on these poems for a while now, so I’m pretty pumped for the launch (which will be on March 27 in Toronto, by the way, although I’ll announce that again closer to the date). You can also pre-order the chapbook at the k |f |b shop if you’re anxious to nail down your copy–and if you can’t pick it up at the launch, you can get it shipped for free to anywhere in Canada!

More pressingly, I’m also excited to announce that I’ll be on the radio with Nancy Bullis and Valentino Assenza of HOWL (Tuesdays 10pm-11pm on CIUT 89.5FM) tomorrow night at 10pm, broadcasting out of U of T’s Hart House. I’ll be joining my illustrious friends / publishers / editors Jim Johnstone and Kirby to read a few poems from The Devil–so if you’re even a little curious about my own twist on Satanic ritual, I’d highly recommend keeping your ears perked.

As always, happy listening!

 

back cover of The Devil chapbook

 

 

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excerpts from Your Very Own in long con issue 1

Hi folks,

I may be a few days late blogging about this (the magazine came out FAST), but that doesn’t make me any less happy to be included in the inaugural issue of long con, a new online magazine of art about art spearheaded by Andy Verboom and Kailee Wakeman. Aside from the pleasure of being published by such conscientious editors, I’m also extra pleased to be featured next to more than a few artists and writers I deeply respect, including Annick MacAskill, Angie Quick, Trevor Abes, and others I’m too shy to presume to call friends. Of course, I’m sure the folks I don’t recognize by name have also contributed some excellent work (I’m excited to find out for myself once I can really sit down with the issue), so I wish you a fruitful romp through the magazine!

The pieces I’ve contributed are excerpts from Your Very Own, a visual and textual erasure of Choose Your Own Adventure #43: Grand Canyon Odyssey that is set to be released in full form with JackPine Press. I wrote a sentence or two about the project after the publication of another excerpt in tiny spoon this summer, and you can also check out a blurb about the project at its dedicated page at long con (although I would recommend leafing through the issue a bit, if only to steal ideas from its slick web design). So, I’ll let those links do the rest of the talking.

As always, happy reading!

 

An erased image from Your Very Own, showing a girl and a boy flying through the air.

 

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Two launches for Kevin Heslop’s there is no minor violence just as there is no negligible cough during an aria

Howdy everyone,

I’m coming in at the last minute with this post, but I’m here to celebrate two quickly upcoming readings with Kevin Heslop to help him launch his new Frog Hollow Press chapbook, there is no minor violence just as there is no negligible cough during an aria. Surely I’ve mentioned Kevin before… He’s a good friend of mine, probably now an old friend, who also happens to be one of the most thoughtful and hardest working champions of poetry and the arts in London, Ontario–and, more and more, Canada as a whole. Aside from that, he has been a dear companion to me during my time in and around London and in the years since (especially considering all the shit he put up with from me on our New Brunswick tour earlier this month).

Most importantly to you, Kevin is a fantastically daring and attentive poet with a broad and deep pool of influences. If I could try to summarize his writing, I’d say he has a unique talent for finding the bridges (or underground passageways) between intensely different aspects of experience. He’s also a fabulous reader, owing in part to his acting chops. This is his debut book. COME HEAR HIM READ. Also, I’ll be there.

Both of us will be at The Bookshelf in Guelph, Ontario tomorrow (Thursday, October 24) at 7pm, where we’ll be reading alongside another good and old friend of mine, Mike Chaulk. You can find details on the launch’s Facebook event page. Also, if you’re around The Bookshelf earlier in the afternoon, you should check out the AbleHamilton Poetry Festival‘s Guelph reading with Dominik Parisien and Annie Lepage (or just listen to Hymns57’s set on CFRU 93.3 FM at 1pm, which sounds absolutely amazing).

If you’re a Toronto folk, you can also catch me and Kevin (along with some other special guests, including the wonderful Concetta Principe) at knife | fork | book this Saturday, October 26 at 7pm sharp. Details here. Keep in mind that this is at k | f | b’s new space in Artscape Youngplace on Shaw Street (which, having just visited for the first time yesterday, I can tell you is one of the most engaging bookstore environments I’ve ever set foot in).

Whether it’s one reading or the other, I’ll see you there!

 

cover of Kevin Heslop's there is no minor violence just as there is no negligible cough during an aria

 

 

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